UK Core under way with ‘Nation of Nations’ event

By Amelia Orwick

UK will celebrate the arrival of its new General Education program with a “Nation of Nations” celebration Tuesday at W.T. Young Library.

The new program, known as UK Core, was fully implemented at the start of the semester and replaces the former University Studies program.

All students are required to complete the new course of study, regardless of their major.

Students will be able to explore the arts and other creative works at “Nation of Nations” under UK Core.

“Nation of Nations” is a 10-panel art work done by Lexington artist Marjorie Guyon. Each panel features a life-size human image with “Have Mercy on Us” written in different languages.

Guyon’s exhibit will give students the opportunity to put their creative thinking skills to the test.

“Guyon’s art work is at once aesthetically rich and intellectually provocative, and as such symbolizes the university’s commitment to the transformative purposes of general education,” Dr. Mike Mullen, associate provost of undergraduate education, said.

Students from various campus organizations will also be participating in the celebration.

“The celebration features performances by students in the UK opera program and the UK theatre department,” Mullen said. “In addition, two undergraduate students will speak briefly about their experiences in a pilot arts & creativity class, a UK Core offering from Spring of 2010.”

A live stream of the event and a voice-thread project will be available, allowing students to participate via the Internet.

President Eli Capilouto and Provost Kumble Subbaswamy will follow the celebration.

Since 2008, several reforms have been made to improve the overall quality of students’ educational experiences.

Gen ed curriculum will now consist of 30 credit hours rather than 40.

The hope is that shifting the focus away from classroom time will give students the opportunity to practice more active learning and critical thinking.

Bill Rayens, an assistant provost within UK Core, said he believes the new program will benefit the students of today better so than University Studies.

The curricular framework is based on four categories, which include intellectual inquiry, composition and communication, quantitative reasoning and citizenship.

UK has received positive feedback from students for its efforts to improve the program.

“Students are well aware that their professors have really been thinking hard about how to make their classes more relevant, more dynamic; and they appreciate that by and large,” Rayens said.

Still, Rayens reminds people that the program is still new and obstacles are inevitable.

“Of course we are in a period of transition from something well-worn and comfortable to something brand new and challenging. There will be growing pains for us all,” he said.